YouTube star Ricky Dillon is speaking his truth.
The 27-year-old singer-songwriter — who has over 3 million followers on YouTube — released a video on Wednesday announcing that he is gay. In the 18-minute video, Dillon detailed his past struggles with his sexuality, telling his fans that he is “finally okay” with publicly identifying as gay because “it’s been a long journey to get here.”
Dillon began the clip by explaining how he felt “inauthentic and disingenuous” in the last few years following his 2016 video announcement in which he identified as asexual.
“I started to slowly realize that I’m gay a couple of years ago — I would say 2017 — and ever since I’ve slowly realized it more,” he shared. “Fast forward to this day, I am 1000 percent sure I’m gay.”
The influencer then spoke about the “crippling anxiety” he suffered before coming to terms with his sexuality, citing his religious upbringing as its major source.
“It was drilled into my brain from an early age that being gay is one of the worst things that could happen,” he said, explaining he’s been afraid to come out to his loved ones for some time. “I am so terrified they’re not going to accept me for being gay because I know their beliefs. … I love my family so much, but I don’t agree with what they believe in in this scenario.”
“I wanted to come out years ago. I’m not scared of telling you guys,” he told his fans. “I don’t think I would be doing this if it weren’t for some many brave YouTubers coming out honestly.”
Dillon went on to say he “tried so hard to be straight,” admitting he had 12 girlfriends throughout his life but it “could not have been more wrong and awkward.”
i’ve been sobbing uncontrollably for the past hour. i’m overwhelmed with relief and emotion. i’ve never felt like this before ever. i can’t believe it— Ricky Dillon (@RickyPDillon) February 26, 2020
According to the YouTuber, he felt uncomfortable dating women and his struggles with intimacy eventually led him to believe that he was asexual.
“It led me to thinking that I might be asexual, which yes, I did make a video — four years ago now, I think — where I talked about my sexuality and how I think that I’m asexual, because my mind had somehow convinced myself that being gay is off the table and there’s no way I could be gay,” he said. “I came to the conclusion that I must be asexual because nothing made sense.”
Dillon uploaded a video on Feb. 13 titled “My Coming Out Video Was a Lie,” in which he expressed his wishes to “retract” his previous statement identifying himself as asexual.
In his video Wednesday, Dillon said he doesn’t want to make those who identify as asexual “to feel invalid” by his journey, but he’s “never been more sure of anything” in regards to his sexuality now.
“I’ve been with several guys now and it’s the most natural and comfortable thing ever,” he added. “It just clicks. It all makes sense and it feels right and I finally feel like I’m myself.”
Dillon ended the clip by assuring fans that he will speak to his parents before uploading his video onto YouTube.
While he has yet to reveal how his family reacted to the news, he tweeted hours after the video went live: “just wanted to come on here and thank you all for the wonderful love and support you’ve shown me today. i’m truly so overwhelmed, in the best way. i’ve never felt so relieved and at peace before in my entire life. just been processing and letting myself breathe all day. love you.”